Parents sue Colorado school district over secrecy in extracurricular gender group
(The Center Square) – A lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Colorado alleges parental civil rights were violated when an extracurricular group in the Poudre School District told students to maintain secrecy regarding its subject matter.
J. Brad Bergford, a lawyer with Illumine Legal, filed a 31-page, two count lawsuit against the school district. It alleges parents of students were denied their constitutional rights under the First and 14th Amendment. One count states the parents were denied the right to direct the education and upbringing of their children. The other count claims the students were denied equal protection under the law by denying a gender support plan “where other similarly situated students are granted gender support plans.”
The suit states the school district ran 10 after-school “Genders and Sexualities Alliance” groups and introduced concepts of gender fluidity and various types of sexual attraction. The plaintiffs claim the district “engaged in a pattern and practice of keeping the (group’s) activities secret from parents.”
Further, the suit claims a nonprofit agency facilitating the groups “actively encouraged the children to treat the discussions as secret” and discussing “materials at home with their families might not be safe.”
One of the plaintiff’s children attended group meetings in 2021.
“Plaintiff H.J. underwent a significant emotional decline, including a request in December 2021 to be homeschooled,” the complaint states. “Shortly after the request to be homeschooled, Plaintiff H.J.’s emotional decline culminated in an attempted suicide by drinking an ounce of bleach.”
Pam Bondi, the former Florida attorney general, will represent the plaintiffs in the case, according to a Fox News report, but isn’t listed in the complaint.
The complaint states the school district refused to implement a gender support plan for a student after a parental request and alleges the refusal was based on sex discrimination. “If M.L. had been a biological female, rather than a biological male, (the school district) would have granted M.L.’s gender support plan for the use of male gender pronouns” the complaint states.
Madeline Noblett, chief communications officer for the Poudre School District, said the district is evaluating the lawsuit and it supports all students, "including those who hold the LGBTQIA+ identity, align with current state and federal law. These guidelines are publicly available on our website. By law, students have the right to be free from discrimination and have access to a safe and inclusive learning environment."
Judge Scott T. Varholak scheduled a conference for the lawsuit July 6.
"People will have different opinions about allegations raised in this suit," Noblett wrote. "We hope that everyone can respect the privacy of everyone involved in this case."